Colocation Providers Must Adapt to the Changing Faces of their Buyers

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Not so long ago, when colocation providers were trying to make a sale, it was a pretty sure bet they’d be talking to a facilities or procurement professional. Today, the sorts of colo decision makers within customer companies has expanded dramatically, to include IT managers, CIOs, COOs and CFOs.

That was one of the key points we heard loud and clear from a roundtable discussion held last November in Miami among 30 executives from colocation companies in 16 countries. They were gathered for a day-long discussion of industry trends at an event sponsored by Schneider Electric, talking about colocation “megatrends,” including the changing face of the colocation buyer.

Some attendees noted a new role has also emerged within companies that they expect to be increasingly important: the chief digital officer (CDO). The CDO has responsibilities ranging from developing a digital marketing strategy and transforming processes toward digital formats to implementing new digital business models and more. With this laser focus on digital, the CDO is naturally interested in services that can help support agile digital initiatives – including those that colo providers offer.

With all these different potential decision-makers, roundtable participants pointed out that they need to target their messages accordingly to each; there’s no one-size-fits all pitch. That means providers may have to expand their lineup of buyer personas, to ensure they can talk to each type of decision maker on the terms they care most about. For a CFO, it’ll be a heavy dose of dollars and cents, backed up by facts and figures. IT will want to hear about cloud capabilities, security, speeds and feeds and get into the technology weeds.

But no matter who you’re talking to, participants generally agreed that you need to draw a clear connection between business value and the services you offer. That means being able to show, for example, how the ability to deliver IT services faster (which a colo provider can help with) translates into business success. Case studies will be important in that regard, especially those that can speak to the specific vertical industries that make up your target market.

Issues including efficiency and sustainability are also now front and center for virtually all companies around the world, so be prepared with a good story on that front.

Some good news that came out of the roundtable is that more types of companies are now open to buying colocation services. One attendee noted that 5 years ago a UK bank would never consider colocation services, but today the services are common among financial services companies across Northern Europe.

We found the discussion to be so valuable that we pulled the best bits from the roundtable and packaged them into a report, “Opportunities and threats for colocation providers around the globe.” It’s free for you to download now – and is the next best thing to having been at the table in Miami.

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